Q/A with Matt Kovach of Envoy Mortgage
MBA NewsLink Staff
MBA NewsLink recently posed questions to Matt Kovach, vice president of special projects with Envoy Mortgage, Houston.
Kovach runs Envoy Mortgage's VA Boot Camp, a training and certification program for Envoy employees (and others) for originating VA loans. Previously, Kovach spent 12 years as a mortgage loan originator.
MBA NEWSLINK: Envoy has doubled its VA mortgage business over the past year. What attracted the company to that niche?
MATT KOVACH, ENVOY MORTGAGE: It's a great business segment. We discovered that many veterans do not completely understand the benefits to which they are entitled, and how VA programs can make homeownership possible for them more readily than conventional loans.
Our CEO, Pat Walden, is a veteran himself and he made it a priority to not only emphasize VA lending, but to create a broad-based training program to educate Envoy employees. As he said recently, "To ensure exceptional service to our veterans we are creating experts across Envoy, and not only among those who originate loans. We are training clerical staff, managers, loan processors and all others who are critical to ensuring veterans receive the service they deserve. Envoy employs many veterans, and we have learned that a surprising number of our 22 million former service members are unaware of how their veteran benefits can improve their lives. It is our mission to change that, and VA Boot Camp Certification has given us a great start."
NEWSLINK: Why do you think there is a market for the ‘Military Millennial?'
KOVACH: Thousands leave the military every year and most of them are Millennials. Military Millennials have the advantage of leveraging their veterans' benefits to become homeowners with very little upfront expense, so the market opportunity is substantial.
Homeownership is very much on their minds, as it is for most Millennials. According to USA Today, more than 60 percent of millennials plan on purchasing a home in the next 5 years (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/05/17/millennials-buy-home-homeowner-homeownership/84237282/). Combine that with the great benefits of VA financing and there is a huge opportunity for that market. Helping them understand the programs is very important to us.
NEWSLINK: How did Envoy develop its VA Boot Camp concept? What are the program's goals?
KOVACH: The goal is simple--to provide our employees with the information and tools needed to become expert resource for veterans in need of home financing, as well as the real estate professionals who work with them. Serving veterans better is not just the main goal of certification through Envoy's VA Bootcamp--it's a core value of Envoy Mortgage.
The concept also worked well within Envoy's culture of technology, which dates back to our founding. VA Bootcamp was created as an online learning resource, which makes it accessible, time-efficient and flexible. Instead of having to be in a classroom, participants can complete the sessions when the time is right for them, and that has enhanced the experience for all.
NEWSLINK: The Boot Camp is available not only to Envoy employees, but other professionals. Why did Envoy make the decision to essentially make the Boot Camp an "open architecture?"
KOVACH: We are actively promoting VA Bootcamp to real estate professionals because so many do not completely understand or fully appreciate what veterans benefits can mean to them and to their potential customers. When they are trained, they become a force for VA lending in their areas and can spread the word among their peers as well as their friends and neighbors regarding zero-down payment programs and other advantages. The word can get around quickly, too, especially in areas where the military has a significant presence, whether active duty or recently detached. It is a win-win-win for Envoy, veterans and for the real estate community.
NEWSLINK: What has the reception been so far?
KOVACH: Nearly 400 Envoy employees have become Envoy VA Certified and the list grows weekly. Our originators are meeting with realtors across the country and helping them better understand the veteran borrower and how to best assist them. We have a special Envoy VA Certification for real estate professionals who invest the time to learn about VA benefits, and it is being received very well.
NEWSLINK: Are you recruiting veterans as loan officers?
KOVACH: Absolutely. The mortgage industry has a wide variety of satisfying career opportunities for veterans. In particular, being a loan officer is a great way for veterans to help their fellow veterans realize the American Dream of homeownership. They have the advantage of the shared military experience and an understanding of their peers' situational needs. Additionally, they are organized, eager to learn, accustomed to systemic processes and they are mission-oriented. All those factors make veterans highly desirable as loan officers and perfect for dealing with military borrowers and others.
(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policy of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor does it connote an endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions; articles and/or Q/A inquiries should be sent to Mike Sorohan, editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.)